Virginia Governor's Race: Can Cuccinelli Beat McAuliffe - and What About Libertarian Sarvis?

The Virginia governor's race is being widely viewed as a bellwether about...something. It pits the ultimate FOB (does anyone still remember what that means?) Terry McAuliffe (D) against the conservative Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), with a suprisingly popular Libertarian candidate, Robert Sarvis, polling near on in double digits (read Reason's inteview with him).

The latest poll, from Emerson College, has McAuliffe at 42 percent, Cuccinelli at 40 percent, and Sarvis at 13 percent. Not long ago, McAuliffe was winning in a total rout. Other polls show the race tightening before the election Tuesday, though nothing as tight as Emerson's. RealClearPolitics' average has McAuliffe up by about 8 points and Sarvis just over 10 percent (important because cracking double digits would guarantee the LP ballot access through 2016).

Depending on who you ask, it's about how awful the GOP is overall and their foolhardiness in shutting down the federal government (which is hugely important to the Old Dominion's economy). Or it's about just how disastrous the Obamacare debacle really is, or how inexperienced and dirty McAuliffe really is; how brave and stand-up Cuccinelli is (he was a leader in bringing legal action against Obamacare) or how insanely socially conservative he is; or how reckless the Libertarian Party is (depending on whom you ask, the LP is either gifting the election to McAuliffe or showing the deepening appetite for a third-party to the Dems and Reps.

I suspect that there's a mix of all of the above at play in the race. But this is certainly worth hammering home: The notion that a third-party candidate, in this case a Libertarian, in any way, shape, or form "costs" a Democrat or Republican an election is a category error.

This type of argument was made most famously to explain the outcome of the 2000 election, which was supposedly thrown to George W. Bush by Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. The methodology to prove this is simple: You take the spread between the major party players and then see if a third-party candidate more votes than that, and blame them. Don't you see that Nader obviously tossed the election to Bush, because all of Nader's voters would have turned out even if he wasn't running and would have voted for Gore...?

There's a basic logic that seems persuasive, but it glosses over too many things to really be convincing. In the 2000 election, it skims over the fact that if Al Gore had been a semi-decent candidate, he should have won in a rout. He was the VP of a flawed but effective administration that had overseen a massive and general increase in wealth (even despite the tech bubble bust at the very end of the 1990s). This was a guy who had various scandals of his own on top of Bill Clinton's and then made the bizarre decision to show up in orange-face for a presidential debate and also vaguely physically threaten Bush at the end of one too. However close - and ultimately arbitrary - the final vote tally was, Al Gore lost the election because he was a rotten candidate that voters (and yes, ultimately the Supreme Court) rejected.

The whole "third party are spoilers" presupposes that the two major parties have a prior claim on votes and voters, which is simply wrong. This sort of logic typically get trotted out by conservatives around election time, when they suddenly realize that small-L libertarians exist and vote on issues that go beyond patently unconvincing promises to reduce the size, scope, and spending of government at any given level. Candidates such as Cuccinelli, who is by all accounts extremely socially conservative, are a tough sell to libertarian-minded voters (45 percent of whom say they identify with the Republican Party). 

Which is another way of saying: If GOP candidates aren't convincing to libertarians, don't blame libertarians. Don't conservatives believe in personal responsibility? Take a look at the man in the mirror then. Blame a party that has never lived up to its limited government rhetoric or its insistence that government should leave people alone as much as possible (in Virginia, this meant among other things, having Republican legislators vote against a plan to get the government out of the liquor business. Really).

Libertarians are incredibly consistent in what they believe and getting their vote is pretty easy: All you have to do is present a credible plan to cut the role of government across the board. As leading libertarian Republican Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has concisely put it, you have to "embrace liberty in both the economic and personal spheres." As I noted in a recent Time.com column, this isn't complicated, but it has often proved a bridge too far for Republicans. That's their problem and it may well spell their doom going forward, as libertarian-minded voters gain numbers and influence:

If the Republicans can’t figure out a way to accommodate broadly popular, socially tolerant libertarian policies on gay rights, drug legalization, and more, they will not just lose the race for the White House in 2016, but quite possibly their status as a major party.

More here.

Related and highly relevant: Scott Shackford on which candidate is "losing" more votes to Sarvis.

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  • BardMetal||

    Can't we just stick to the strategy of taking over the Republican party instead of wasting our time on this 3rd party nonsense?

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    It's worked so well before!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It has worked better than third party, yes.

  • eyeroller||

    Then let's take over the Democratic Party!

    "NO! DEMOCRATS ARE JUST PLAIN BAD AND HATE LIBERTY!"

    So you're saying it's no good to try and take over a party that's just plain bad and hates liberty? Hmm.

  • Carolynp||

    So, you knocked down your own strawman? Shocker. Fact is the DNC believes in bigger government. Republicans at least pay lip service to believing in smaller government. I understand the desire to not vote for someone who only pretends to love liberty, but if your choice is to vote for someone who is running on the platform of chaining you up (hint: socialized medicine), it makes you a moron to waste your vote.

  • Hyperion||

    You have to stay focused on the strategy. It is simple. If the GOP runs a solid libertarian, examples - Rand Paul, Justin Amash, then you vote GOP. If not, you vote for the L candidate. It's that simple.

    In this case, you vote for Sarvis. You cannot take over the GOP by voting for establishment candidates.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    John in 3, 2, 1...

  • Finrod||

    Sarvis is in favor of putting tracking devices in cars so that they can be taxed per mile.

    Sarvis is more of an establishment candidate than Cuccinelli is. He's no libertarian.

  • Carolynp||

    Yet, when McAuliffe wins, the headline will be "Public loves socialized medicine". If Sarvis wins, there is an extremist liberal legislature that will keep him chained. Potentially, the animosity between the two will keep both of them chained. I think it's the only win possible.

  • Ed Ucation||

    Bullshit. I haven't been able to find that quote. I seriously doubt Sarvis said that.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    It's not either/or. If a third party/Libertarian candidate wins a significant number of votes then the Republicans will find it impossible to ignore or marginalize libertarians. The road to influence within the Republican party is paved with modestly successful third party or Libertarian candidates. We need to punish Republicans with losses to get them to behave appropriately.

  • BardMetal||

    Well I doubt you're ever going to get a 100% libertarian candidate. So how libertarian does a GOP candidate have to be before you consider voting for them, and what issues take a higher priority?

  • Hyperion||

    Who gets to decide what is 100% libertarian purity? You?

    I don't see where Lady Bertrum said anything about libertarian purity as the deciding factor. Are you only here to argue? Just curious because you don't seem to have a point.

    It's not that difficult to judge if a candidate is libertarian leaning, or not. And it's pretty impossible to fake, like people get faked out by faux tea party candidates (see Christie, Rubio).

  • RightNut||

    Eh, I don't think you can include either Rubio or Christie as faux tea party candidates.

    Rubio I think is generally a "tea party candidate", with the exception of immigration reform.

    Christie was elected in NJ in 2009, toward the very beginning of the tea party and largely before it was an electoral force nationwide. He may have supported tea party candidates as governor but I don't think anyone has ever confused Christie as part of the tea party.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Christie is part of the Milk Shake Party.

  • BardMetal||

    Well isn't libertarian leaning somewhat relative? Wouldn't even Obama appear libertarian leaning if he was paired up with Mao or Stalin?

    Lady Bertrum said the Republican party needs to be punished when it doesn't behave appropriately. Well just how libertarian does their nomination have to be to be considered behaving appropriately?

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Well just how libertarian does their nomination have to be to be considered behaving appropriately?

    Libertarian enough not to be obvious pretenders and charlatans like Christy.

  • BardMetal||

    Christy would be a very shitty choice for a national election, and if he was the GOP nominee I would probably just sit that election out. However if I lived in a very blue state, and he was running for governor I might consider voting for him.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Actually, I think Christy will be an excellent candidate nationally - not for the cause of libertarianism but for Republicans.

    Seeing Christy up close as a Jersey resident, I can tell you he's an excellent retail politician, much like Bill Clinton. He's got the gift. Unfortunately, he'll be using it for evil establishment Republicanism in '16.

    My assumption is he is running and he will win both the primary and the national election. I'll be supporting Rand Paul when and if the time comes. My goal is to force him into more libertarian friendly positions by supporting Paul.

  • OneOut||

    Unfortunately punishing the Republican party means punishing the American people who don't want laws like Ocare, for instance.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    We only hit them because we love them.

  • Ivoted4KODOS||

    NOT punishing the Republican Party gets us Medicare D, Iraq, tax increases, TARP, DOMA, GWB Deficits...need I go on?

  • Acosmist||

    Uh, TARP came because of the first instance of this stupid punishing meme - the 06 elections were explicitly said by right-leaning people to be a time when we needed to punish those Republicans.

    Thanks for the worldwide depression, btw.

  • wwhorton||

    Well, if the American people don't want laws like Obamacare, then maybe they should stop voting for establishment statists.

  • Carolynp||

    We could easily have gotten rid of Obamacare if more libertarians and moderates had voted for Romney. Just saying...

  • Rach||

    This 3rd party stuff is why I have issues support the LP -- even though I have heavy Libertarian leanings.

    I am an avid Tea Party supporter; they made the decision to try and change one of the existing parties from within.

    Those who are "LP Purists" (especially in the VA Gov race) got led by the nose by Democrat supporters to siphon republican votes this time around. As long as you are "on the outside" looking in this will be the case. The democrats will run adds attacking SoCon and dragging you away from that party to a LP candidate; helping the Democrat.

    I think the answer is for LP minded to form coalitions with various "TEA Party" movements to push the limited government model of government inside the Republican Party. Don't let the Progressive Left scare you with the SoCon component of the TEA Party; it is a red hearing and a result of overlap in philosophy rather than part of the core TEA Party movement.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Well, I voted for Christy in the last election cycle in Jersey even though an independent party candidate(Daggett) was on the ballet, so I'm no purest. Corzine was just so awful and Jersey is just so blue and Christy actually had a chance of winning when Daggett didn't, I held my nose and voted for the lesser of two evils.

    This time around I'll vote for Ken Kaplan because Christy has proven himself as a big government Republican (Surprise!).

    I clearly see the intellectual inconsistency in my position, but, for me, it's always the least worst option and will my vote actually signal anything meaningfully (usually not).

  • BardMetal||

    That all makes perfect sense to me. There is a time to vote for the lessor of two evils, and a time to use the protest vote, and a number of factors need to be considered before deciding which of the two to use.

    I get the impression from some people that post here that they only use the protest vote, and I don't think that is a very good strategy at all.

  • Ted S.||

    In my portion of New York, the last time I can think of that there was the opportunity for a protest vote that might have made a difference was back in 1994. There have been some close elections since (the last two US House races and a State Senate race decided in the courts), but most of those haven't had any third-party candidates.

  • wwhorton||

    Remember, whenever you choose the lesser of two evils, you're still choosing evil. The "lesser of two evils" strategy is fallacious.

    If you vote for Republicans instead of Libertarians because the Republican is "libertarian enough" and has a better chance of winning, you're telling not only Republicans but everyone else that you're alright with a certain level of statism so long as it looks a little bit like libertarianism. The strategy of gently nudging the Republican party towards becoming the Libertarian party by gradual steps would, in the best case, take as long as building up the Libertarian party on the national level.

    If you're voting because you absolutely must defeat the other candidate, then you should ask yourself whether the worse candidate is really that different from the "less awful" candidate if you have to hold your nose to vote.

    I vote Libertarian whenever a Libertarian is running. It's not a protest vote; I vote my conscience. To some people that looks like a protest vote, which is a pretty sad indictment of their moral character.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I hereby declare that 75% libertarian is the minimum cutoff. In general, if the GOPer is less than 75% libertarian. Vote for the LP candidate or write-in.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Don't know why I started a new sentence there. Sorry.

  • OneOut||

    I think 68% to 69% should be the cutoff.

    Should we argue ?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Yes.

    By the loose definition that libertarians are fiscally conservative and socially liberal, Republicans are already 50% libertarian. 75% (total) amounts to half the difference of what's remaining. 69% just means you're a Republican that goes the other way on a social issue or two.

    75% shows you to be more libertarian than Republican. I want to see some commitment here.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Republicans are 50% libertarian? Hell, they're more than 75% Democrat. They quibble with Team Blue about minor details.

  • Rach||

    I think you have your %tages wrong.

    Team Blue wants to use the force of the state to enforce social liberalism; and as a result increase the power of government to make that happen: 0% Libertarian

    Team Red is currently in a civil war; SoCon/Big Government which suffers the same issue as Team Blue (0%); progressive/Big Government which is Team Blue by another name (0%); and finally the TEA movement while it has SoCon elements, it is all about limited government and the SoCon element just wants the government out of their everyday lives and stop pushing any values (i.e. true neutral) and that element I would argue is at 75% compatibility with the LP.

    So why not work with the TEA movement to try and change Team Red?

  • Rod Flash||

    69, Dude.

  • Carolynp||

    Hey, at least you have standards...

  • LynchPin1477||

    So how libertarian does a GOP candidate have to be before you consider voting for them

    I think it depends on the level of government you are talking about. I would be willing to vote for a socially conservative Republican (with qualifiers) in a federal election if they supported sending the social issues back to the states. I would probably not vote for such a candidate in a state election if there was someone better.

    *The qualifier basically being that they keep the so-con rhetoric to a reasonable level and don't go way off the deep end, at least in public.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    "We need to punish Republicans with losses to get them to behave appropriately." And Democrats, too. The point of the 3rd Party strategy is to have an organization that can influence public policy in a libertarian direction in at least two major ways: 1) Win office outright when possible, at whatever level; 2) Have a loyal voting bloc, the support of which can swing an election, so that the party can get truly libertarian concessions from both Democrats and Republicans, in order to earn the Libertarian vote.

  • Robert||

    I think we need to punish the Libertarians. I never vote for the LP nominee (unless cross-endorsed), because I want to punish libertarians for making the bad choice of promoting the now long since manifested as a dead end LP. I'm not against all 3rd party politics, but libertarians are particularly ineffective when they have their own political party. They need to be diluted to escape each other's poison.

  • Carolynp||

    Yeah, that'll work. The story from the shutdown was that they need to start ignoring the libertarian voices. What the liberals hear from this is that they're winning because the conservative voice is divided. Tell me more about how your punishment is working out when we elect an extreme liberal congress paired with an extreme liberal president. I'll just expect the jackboots on my porch for my guns at any moment. See, to me, it looks like you're actually punishing me...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    How many spoiled elections with unworthy Democrat victors will pass and how much liberal damage will be wreaked before this third party will be birthed to save the nation? Who knows, but the GOP brings it on itself. Continue to be a statist doppelganger the progressive party and you're just inviting Democrat victories.

    It's interesting that the Democrats are content enough to vote D on Election Day, even though their party is just as fractured. You have moonbat liberals mixed with union thugs, who share little ideologically with each other, yet everyone seems to be one big happy tent when the time comes. Perhaps the GOP just needs to promise everything to everyone and see if that gets it done.

  • Mike M.||

    So much this. If the republican party is indeed going down in flames, it's almost 100% because of dirtbags like George W. Bush and Bob McDonnell, and not because of libertarians.

  • BardMetal||

    So support more libertarian candidates in the primaries, and save the protest votes for the big government Republicans, and nor this culture war bullshit.

  • Hyperion||

    The Dems are all statists and cronies, regardless of the different ideologies. The only reason they are infighting is because each of them wants the biggest piece of the spoils when their masters start throwing out bread crumbs.

    With the GOP, at least it's a fight between liberty and the status quo. There is no such struggle happening in the Democratic party.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Maybe so, but Cuccinelli is not the type of statist doppelganger you are worried about -- he's one of the most small government conservatives out there running an extremely small government campaign, and his commitment to federalism is quite impressive. He has said a variety of very stupid things about sodomy in the course of his public career, but his record on all sorts of issues where he did not stand to gain -- criminal justice reform, for example -- indicate a certain level of commitment to principle that is absent from the politicians you're complaining about.

    I can definitely see why a libertarian would not vote for the Cooch, but he's not really characteristic of a statist pol; he's quite idiosyncratic, really.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Doesn't "FOB" mean fresh off the boat?

    Seriously, if Jefferson and Washington had known Virginia would be inundated with the disgusting sort of creatures that are attracted to government jobs, instead of putting the capital on the Potomac, they'd have fought to put it in Boston or New York City.

  • R C Dean||

    Nah. FOB means "Friend of Bill", a Clinton crony.

  • LynchPin1477||

    As a native Pennsylvanian, I need to remind you of Philadelphia.

  • croaker||

    booIn my universe, Washington and Hamilton were executed by firing squad and Madison fled to Europe after losing the Whiskey Rebellion. DC never happened.

    (Bonus points for naming book and author)

  • BLEEDINELL||

    Dr Suess?

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Probability Broach. L Neil Smith.

    BOOO YAH!!

  • Mickey Rat||

    "...to accommodate broadly popular, socially tolerant libertarian policies on gay rights,..."

    Where does Gillespie get the idea that that the broadly popular stance in favor gay rights is socially tolerant, or libertaian? The gay rights movement is all for forcing its values on others. Libertarian policies on this represent an outback from both the left and the right, a principled out back perhaps, but not in line with what is actually happening on in the cultural debate.

  • Irish||

    Where does Gillespie get the idea that that the broadly popular stance in favor gay rights is socially tolerant, or libertaian? The gay rights movement is all for forcing its values on others.

    Sure, but most people who are in favor of gay rights aren't part of the 'gay rights movement.' The majority of people in favor of gay rights are in favor of equal rights, not in favor of the fringe obsessions of Dan Savage and company.

  • BardMetal||

    Where do gays not have equal rights?

    I assume you're talking about marriage, but that isn't about equal rights, thats about changing the definition of what the word marriage means.

  • KPres||

    Yeah, and outlawing slavery wasn't about equal rights either, it was about changing what the definition of the word "person" means.

  • RightNut||

    BURN!

  • BardMetal||

    Slavery existed since the dawn of civilization, and only started to disappear in the 18th and 19th centuries, and was never do to slaves not being defined as "people". It isn't even close to being an analogy.

    But I'm curious now, what do you think the definition of marriage should be?

  • RightNut||

    Sir, you have been burned, please cease posting.

  • BardMetal||

    Oh please RightNut let me hear your definition of marriage.

    Or is yelling burned! the only way you know how to contribute?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Take your definition of marriage, and make the gender's of the party's involved unimportant.

  • R C Dean||

    Take your definition of marriage, and make the gender's of the party's involved unimportant.

    As fine an example of the fallacy "assuming the conclusion" that you will ever see.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think you misunderstand how assuming the conclusion works, go back and read the whole exchange and re-check your work.

  • croaker||

    Marraige is a civil contract of partnership. That is all it should be. The only government involvement should be that of contract adjudication.

  • Carolynp||

    I'm sorry, I thought this was dailykos for a second. Am I actually seeing a libertarian attempt to steal someone's right to freedom of speech?

  • l0b0t||

    "But I'm curious now, what do you think the definition of marriage should be?"

    Ok, I'll bite. Marriage should be a contract between two, or more, individuals to cohabitate and share resources under whatever terms the parties to the contract find mutually agreeable.

  • BardMetal||

    So marriage basically should have no other significance then say any other contract?

    A lease could be considered a marriage basically if I choose to call it that. A huge multinational corporation could be considered one giant marriage. We could call the terms home owners association a marriage.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -So marriage basically should have no other significance then say any other contract?

    Of course the significance that any particular couple attaches to it (or any contract) will be up to them.

  • OneOut||

    If we are going to make adjustments to the historical definition of marriage does it have to be a couple ? Couldn't it then be expanded to triplets or quads ?

    Granting marriage to same sex couples is special rights not equal rights. For gays to have the same rights, which I support, let them name their union something different from what a man and a woman have always named theirs. Call it gayrige or something and that would be equal.

  • croaker||

    As long as it came with the same rights and powers as a "breeder marraige" no problem. But that isn't what's happening.

  • Pi Guy||

    A lease is a contract. Some here are suggesting that marriage is a contract. That doesn't make a lease a marriage.

    A square is a quadrilateral. A kite is a quadrilateral. That doesn't make a kite a square. Can you grasp this distinction?

  • BardMetal||

    "Can you grasp this distinction?"

    Not when the definition has been changed to remove any such distinction.

  • Pi Guy||

    *shakes head*

    Where, exactly, is this ironclad definition of marriage to which you refer written?

  • BardMetal||

    "Where, exactly, is this ironclad definition of marriage to which you refer written?"

    Maybe should go back and try to follow this discussion then get back to me.

    I asked someone to give me their definition of marriage, and they gave me a definition so broad that it could refer to any sort of contract between any number of people.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    So marriage basically should have no other significance then [sic] say any other contract?

    Absolutely correct.

  • R C Dean||

    under whatever terms the parties to the contract find mutually agreeable.

    Under this definition, few if any people are married in the US, because the terms of the "contract" are imposed by the State.

    I mean, I'm kinda liking the definition, but its fundamentally incompatible with state-licensed marriages and thus the whole current gay marriage kerfuffle.

  • croaker||

    Finally you're starting to cogitate.

  • Pi Guy||

    If marriages didn't have special privileges bestowed upon them by the state - taxation, right to make end-of-life decisions, automatically conveyed property rights to the survivor - then marriage is simply an agreement between two (or more...) consenting adults to love and care and share together for life, or for the agreed upon duration.

    It should simply be a contract between the parties whose decisions are guaranteed by the laws of personal and property rights enforced - and not bestowed - by the government. Then it doesn't matter what gender, race, or religions are involved.

    Love is about a lot more than whose doo-dads you like to touch.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    But I'm curious now, what do you think the definition of marriage should be?

    Whatever you want it to be. If you want to live with and fuck your pet goat and you want to call it marriage, I could care less.

    The ONLY thing that is certain, is that the government should have no say in it.

  • ||

    Dude, you think I'm gonna let one goat hold me down? I don't care how pretty she is

  • gaoxiaen||

    Marriage= Slavery

  • Ragnarok||

    A word's definition is outside of the state's ability to make. "Culture" is the object that defines words, and currently the homosexual pairing under a legal contract is called "gay marriage" and not "marriage".

    The legal apparatus of the state allows for the formation of contracts between individuals. What pet names society gives these contracts is not a function of the state. Equal protection under the law demands that if one group can make a contract between themselves then another group shall have the same right.

    This is not to mention the legal inequality between married and non individuals. Although, this is certainly the tip of the iceberg when it comes to special treatment(our amazing tax code...).

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I assume you're talking about marriage, but that isn't about equal rights, thats about changing the definition of what the word marriage means

    OK, let's say for argument's sake that it's about changing the definition of what the word "marriage" means. Now what? Is your linguistic orthodoxy so strict that you're willing to fight shifting definitions at any cost? I have bad news for you - words change meaning all the time, always have, and always will. In fact, you've probably participated in such changes yourself. So I'm afraid you're going to be met with nothing but disappointment as time goes on, and language continues to evolve.

    Then again, maybe it's not really about the sanctity of the dictionary, hmmm?

  • R C Dean||

    let's say for argument's sake that it's about changing the definition of what the word "marriage" means.

    Are you seriously claiming that gay marriage doesn't require redefining the word "marriage", which historically in this country has always meant "man and woman"?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I might make that claim, but did I? No, I did not.

  • R C Dean||

    Typically, the use of the phrase "for argument's sake" means that the speaker does not agree with what is being posited, but is putting it out there to refute it.

    Thus, "it not really about the sanctity of the dictionary" is taken to mean that no, its not about changing the definition of the word "marriage" after all.

    This matters because the equal protection argument depends entirely on a sub rosa change of the definiton of marriage from the historical one of "man and woman" to "two people". So its not really about the sanctity of the dictionary (nice straw man, BTW). Its about the validity of the equal protection argument for gay marriage.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    This matters because the equal protection argument depends entirely on a sub rosa change of the definiton of marriage from the historical one of "man and woman" to "two people".

    Exactly. And why are you so resistant to this change in definition? Is it because the traditional meaning of words is so important to you? Do you also balk when "freedom of the press" is applied to digital communications?

    Why is it so important to you that the definition of marriage never changes?

  • Ivoted4KODOS||

    Slavery was "historically" acceptable when the union was founded. It was later decided to no longer be acceptable. Traditionally, marriage has been man and woman but only because of religious doctrine. There is nothing biological about "marriage" since it is held completely separate and apart from procreation.

    Therefore, your refusal to remove restrictions on bestowing marriage "rights" (already granted to heterosexual couples) to homosexual couples fails to be justified by arguments of: historical precedents (see acceptability of slavery) or biological necessity (like allowing legal differences in treatment on certain issues between men and women, children and adults or physical/mentally handicapped).

    The only precedent you base your legal argument for retaining the traditional definition if marriage is a religious one. Unless you are willing to argue that our legal system should be based on proclamations from specific religions you need to drop this BS.

  • Ivoted4KODOS||

    Also, social conservatives had to chance to remove government sanction of marriage by pushing (with libertarians) to either remove government from marriage regulation completely OR have GovCo only regulate civil unions (all hetero marriages become civil unions and if expanded to homo couples, it will be the same. "Marriage" would be reserved to churches). They rolled their eyes at L's for such a foolish suggestion and chose instead to double down with DOMA, and a few state initiatives banning gay marriage or unions.

    You were warned by L's about the risk and instead chose to increase government's role in marriage, bedroom and religious ceremonies. Now, I have little sympathy for the blowback you will inevitably get from this (eventualkt, probably the removal of tax exempt status for churches who refuse to marry gay couples).

  • Finrod||

    To be fair, it was the gay rights lobby that rejected civil unions as well.

  • Carolynp||

    Aaah...so, big government is bad, unless it's used to punish ones' adversaries politically? The reason churches have "tax exempt" status is because they make no profits. Currently, the extremist homosexual movement is destroying businesses they disagree with by attempting to force others to participate in their marriages. This is every bit as contemptible to a serious libertarian as disallowing gay marriage. My religious liberty is every bit as important as your economic liberty. This is exactly why libertarians can't win elections.

  • wwhorton||

    Well, for one thing, having a thing called "gay marriage" automatically implies that it's different than a thing called "marriage", otherwise you wouldn't need to call it gay, right?

    My real point, however, is that there can be as many definitions of marriage as people. What does it matter? Why would your marriage suffer if someone else's differs from it?

    As a libertarian, my first instinct is to just take the legs out from under the whole issue by removing government's role in the institution completely, aside from maybe contract dispute adjudication. Failing that, just recognize any romantic cohabitation between consenting adults as a marriage and be done with it.

    Besides, I'm sorry, but I'm not seeing why, logically speaking, any one person should be able to tell any other person which marriages are legitimate and which aren't.

  • DJF||

    “Gay rights” is using laws like the soon to be voted on Employment Nondiscrimination Act to force employers to hire and promote homosexuals.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....82230.html

    Just like “Marriage Equality” is about using laws to force others to recognize homosexual marriages

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Sarvis may be picking up votes from Republicans because of [issue deleted in deference to Saturday topic ban] and [issue deleted in deference to Saturday topic ban]. His economic policy is surprising for a libertarian - renouncing Austrian economics, proposing tax changes - abolishing some and creating others - which don't effect a net lowering of the tax burden.

  • BardMetal||

    Yes his economic policies may be very libertarian, and libertarians think culture war bullshit is unimportant, but HE HATEZ TEH GAYZ!!

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I am not sure that is a fair assessment of his tax policy, but nevertheless 'libertarian economic policy' is more than just taxation policy. Sarvis has the following economic stances listed at his website:

    -•Focusing economic regulation and law enforcement on the protection of rights and preservation of an equal playing field for all;
    •Eliminating ALL regulations that insulate market incumbents from competition;
    •Ending ALL government subsidies of specific industries or companies;
    •Removing ALL special tax and regulatory treatment of particular industries or companies;
    •Keeping government neutral with regard to technological solutions, investment decisions, business inputs and business methods, etc.;
    •Getting rid of discretionary funds and returning the money to taxpayers.
    •Preferring, where possible, user fees to general taxes

    http://www.robertsarvis.com/issues/jobs

  • RightNut||

    even if Paul himself is not a pitch-perfect spokesman. He is, after all, an outspoken opponent of abortion who believes life begins at conception and his views on pot legalization and same-sex marriage leave a lot to be desired from a minimal government

    Yup, Paul is the most electable libertarian since what, Calvin Coolidge? Yet Paul is not libertarian enough for Gillespie and co.

    Gillespie is right, lets all wait for the perfect cosmotarian candidate to magically appear. In fact it will be any second now, so lets all hold our breath and wait...

  • Hyperion||

    Paul is actually very libertarian and I am sure he'd love to come right out and say legalize all drugs right now. But that's not the way he plays the game. He's seen first hand how well that did not work out for his dad. He knows that it's baby steps for us, it took the progs 100 years to go this far in the wrong direction, we can't get all of that back in a day. And he knows he has to pander to the SoCons to get the R nomination in 16.

  • RightNut||

    Exactly, I'm sure Paul knows he has much more in common with Sarvis, and if he could switch the two he would. But the fact is Cuccinelli has a chance at winning the race, and Sarvis doesn't. Paul knows that, unfortunately, he has to play to win.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And Paul fundamentally disagrees with Sarvis on [rhymes with "portion"].

  • RightNut||

    Distortion?

  • Mock-star||

    shmishmortion?

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    semantic contortion?

  • Rod Flash||

    Testicular torsion?

  • Hyperion||

    For example, look at his stance on mandatory minimums. He knows that if he goes on the Senate floor and starts yabbering that we need to legalize heroin and cocaine right now, that it's going nowhere. It's a waste of time. So instead, he starts talking about mandatory minimums, which he believes is a doable first step in the right direction.

    Also, realize that he is in campaign mode already and do not pay too much attention to what he says. His voting record is stellar, and that's what is important.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    With the notable exception of the act or war against Iran. (Sanctions, for those that were guessing)

  • Calidissident||

    I don't see how recognizing Paul's (perceived) shortcomings = thinking he's not libertarian enough to support. Reason has been very supportive of Rand Paul since he entered the political scene

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Wow. Sleazy lying propagandist cunt Melissa Harris Perry is even more sleazier and propagandier than usual, today. "What are the LEGITIMATE complaints about the Obamacare? What's that, you say, 'THERE ARE NONE'? Just as I thought."

    *smirks smugly*

    And it started out so entertainingly, with her breathless panicstricken huffing and puffing about the shooting at LAX yesterday. Public servant, serving the public, gunned down by insane teabagger with a semi-automatic rifle and anti-government literature in his possession, boo hoo hoo. Featuring, of course, the obligatory, "Should we arm TSA agents?"

    Yes, Melissa, by all means let's give guns to people whose next best option in the job market is picking up cans on the side of the road. We can trust them. They work for the government.

  • RightNut||

    Hey give MHP a break, its hard being that pretty.

    Also if I see one story about how TSA agents are brave "heroes" I'm going to vomit.

  • BardMetal||

    Hey those are highly trained government agents like cops, and should be the only people allowed to carry guns, even if they do shoot the occasional teenager armed with a toy.

  • gaoxiaen||

    And use dog-shaped targets at the firing range.

  • Irish||

    Featuring, of course, the obligatory, "Should we arm TSA agents?"

    How is this any more bizarre than the proposal to allow teachers to carry guns that the NRA was attacked for proposing? I'd actually trust a teacher with a firearm far more than a TSA agents. Teaching at least requires some education.

  • BardMetal||

    It's more bizarre because the evil NRA proposed it, and for no other reason then that.

  • Ted S.||

    Just as they've redefined "insurance" such that what you had before isn't insurance, they're redefining "legitimate".

  • R C Dean||

    Well, P, I suspect Melissa sympathizes with "people whose next best option in the job market is picking up cans on the side of the road" because she is one of them.

  • Hyperion||

    Why has no one mentioned the obvious here? Anyone who doesn't vote for Sarvis is obviously a racist, because his wife is black.

    Where is the liberal media calling out everyone on this obvious racism? Is their race card broken?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    You cannot take over the GOP by voting for establishment candidates.

    You're never going to teach your dog not to shit in the living room if you scratch him behind the ears and give treats every time he takes a big dump on the couch.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    its hard being that pretty.

    There's a typo, there.

  • RightNut||

    ok fine.

    its hard being that pretty.

  • Aloysious||

    I can't believe that McAuliffe creature is being taken seriously by anybody. I can understand not wanting to cote for team red, but vote *FOR* McAuliffe? Does not compute.

  • Aloysious||

    edit: 'vote'.

    dammit.

  • Hyperion||

    NOVA. Nuff said.

  • Aloysious||

  • Irish||

    I can't believe that McAuliffe creature is being taken seriously by anybody. I can understand not wanting to cote for team red, but vote *FOR* McAuliffe? Does not compute.

    This is my thought exactly. Cuccinelli has some major downsides as a candidate, but I don't know how anyone can be so persuaded by WAR ON WOMEN! rhetoric that they'd vote for a scumbag crony capitalist who left his wife while she was in labor to go to a campaign party.

    I don't know how anyone is stupid enough to read that last part and think McAuliffe gives a shit about the women who have somehow become the centerpiece of his campaign.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    An advertisement on my right said that McAuliffe was 'in bed with the Homosexual Lobby.' Here is what it says when I clicked, fairly amusing:

    -Right now Virginia is the front line in the fight against the radical Homosexual Lobby.

    Historically a strong pro-Family state -- Virginia is now facing a dangerous anti-family attack. Radical elements are determined to ram their perverted agenda into law, against the will of the people. This year has seen the appointment of radical homosexual Tracy Thorne-Begland to a judgeship -- where he can influence court precedents to advance the Homosexual Agenda.

    And Governor Bob McDonnell has allowed the Obama Administration to introduce homosexual “marriage” to the Virginia National Guard -- despite our state’s pro-marriage laws. Meanwhile the ACLU is suing to overturn Virginia’s real marriage amendment against the will of you and me.

    The Homosexual Lobby is determined to make our state the next bastion of radical homosexual “values.” There are two men running for the office of Virginia’s governor -- one is standing strong for Family values while the other is in bed with the Homosexual Lobby.

    It then goes on to defend Cuccinelli's defense of Virginia's sodomy laws.

    http://www.traditionalvalues.u.....4AodXhcAXQ

    No wonder Sarvis is doing so well.

  • Irish||

    Was that a Cuccinelli ad or some ludicrous 501(c)(3) that Cooch isn't affiliated with?

    I can't imagine a candidate for Governor actually approving that ad.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It's an independent committee - this is from their "About Us" site:

    "Since its founding in 1981, Public Advocate has grown into a dedicated group of young conservatives in Washington, D.C., with a network of volunteers and supporters nationwide. Our continuous growth over the years is due to the fact that we have never wavered from our firm conviction that political decisions should begin and end with the best interests of American families and communities in mind."

    It's not connected to C's campaign.

  • Irish||

    Goddamn Citizen's United! Always allowing corporate interests to undercut a Republican's campaign by running crazy ads that make the Republican look like a nut!

    Strange that progs never mention that aspect of Citizen's United.

  • blcartwright||

    that citizens get to band together and express a political opinion that has not been pre-approved by the candidate or party?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'd actually trust a teacher with a firearm far more than a TSA agents.

    Absolutely. Teachers' acknowledged PRIMARY responsibility is not intimidation and subjugation of their "customers". And teachers do not have armed backup liberally sprinkled throughout their workplace.

  • 2ndClassProle||

    Hoping the Libertarian candidate keeps the Republicans from winning the election. Maybe then Republicans will pander to our causes.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm also hoping the beatings continue until the ideology improves.

  • June Genis||

    The stuff about "stealing" votes in this article shows why libertarians need to become more active in the effort to institute ranked choice (or instant runoff) voting. Because first choice votes are transferred from candidates with insufficient support to that voter's second choice, the whole spoiler argument goes away. The fact that most Republicans to not support RCV reveals their true motivation -- winning through fear and intimidation. Please see www.fairvote.org (or in CA www.cfer.org) for more information on RCV.

  • Marc St. Stephen||

    The debate about third party candidates shouldn't be about whether or not they will "steal" the election for one of the major party candidates (they can and often do), it should be about Runoff elections - if no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, then there should be a runoff of the two top vote getters. In the case of this race, such would allow an impressive showing for Libertarians and guarantee that Libertarian voices would actually have a say on the final runoff race.

    Or, as someone once put forth, a "first choice and second choice" method of voting, whereas if anyone's first choice ends up for a third place or lower candidate, then their second choice vote would be counted instead.

  • blcartwright||

    Va has had at least two other state wide general elections in the last 20 or so years affected by the 3rd candidate.

    I'd have no problem with an open primary, all candidates from all parties run together, and if no one gets to 50% the top two go in a runoff. I'm sure Louisiana does this, and I believe Georgia.

  • ashdex||

    What's it gonna' take GOP to get you to understand? In just a few short years you lost me on everything except the 2nd Amendment . That the only thing I can trust you with anymore, and as important as that is to me, it still ain't enough. Cooch, as bad as you guys need to STFU and stop digging deeper holes about homosexuals and abortion, you go and bring up sodomy?!?!?! WTF?!?!?! You have no one to blame but yourselves. I used to be a GOP-bumper-sticker-displaying-rah-rah-red-team voter. No more. I'm voting for Sarvis.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I can understand voting for either the Cooch or Sarvis. The Cooch has his SoCon problems, but they are by and large on issues that he can't affect. He is, OTOH, possibly the best AG we have in any state right now and is very small government on fiscal issues (which is why the state GOP is not supportive of his campaign). He has also committed himself to various libertarian issues where there has been no personal benefit to himself (criminal justice reform and felons' rights, to name one example), and is more open to marijuana reform than his D opponent. He has also made some surprising statements on foreign policy in line with what libertarians often state.

    Sarvis, OTOH, appears to be a moderate libertarian -- more moderate on size of government and taxation than the Cooch, but also more less tone deaf to certain social considerations.

    I tend to vote on fiscal/small government issues +Drug War & abortion, so I sent some cash Cuccinelli's way. It is completely understandable that a libertarian would support Sarvis, but I'd recommend reading up on both candidates before coming to a premature judgement either way.

  • Jerome||

    "The Cooch has his SoCon problems, but they are by and large on issues that he can't affect."

    Bingo. Smart.

  • rogerfgay||

    I'm sympathetic to the argument, third party participation (actually, I think we need a working democracy ... with the term "third" party becoming an anachronism), and battling against the deadbeats who currently control the Republican Party (I've been doing that actively and publicly since 1990); but my scoop is this: McAuliffe is a scum bag and Cuccinelli is actually better on return to Constitutional rule. Did I say better? Well, he's actually good from what I hear, and did I mention that McAuliffe is a scum-bag?

    I'm just thinking that a McAuliffe win would be very, very bad, mmkay. So, since Sarvis isn't going to win it, anything that would help Cuccinelli win would be a good thing. Just think, if Sarvis could help swing the election, it would make the point that "third-party" participation is powerful.

    Sidenote: In countries that do have democracy, Libertarians would be in office in proportion to the votes they get. Their minority participation at the Libertarian level here would put them in the powerful position of providing the swing votes one way or the other on legislation. If they can decide the outcome of this election, it's as close as it gets in a de facto two-party system.

  • XM||

    I doubt that Sarvis will get 10% of the vote. Third party candidates tend to poll well but they typically don't get that many votes come election day.

    Gary Johnson got less than 1% of the vote in VA in the 2012 election. If Romney got all the libertarian votes, he still would have lost the state. If Maclauiffe wins by 4 points, then the libertarian vote is a moot point.

    If I remember correctly, Romney actually won the independent vote but he still lost. The voters who are actually making the difference (those minorities and immigrants!) are NOT libertarians.

    You need more of the emerging demographics to join the libertarian movements. It's quite literally the ONLY way either party will try to appeal to libertarians.

  • Jerome||

    Nick sounds like this one hits a little too close to home -- another election where supposedly libertarian voters will waste votes on a liberal fraud like Sarvis and elect a corrupt clown like McAuliffe to loot their state for his Democrat friends.

    I know ... it's not your fault Cuccinelli hasn't effectively made his case to the Ls. Fair enough. What's sad and pathetic is that libertarians were once again suckered by a total fraud like Sarvis, and millions of dollars in juvenile Democrat ads depicting Cuccinelli as Pope Gregory IX. I always think you guys are smarter than this, until election night.

    And so much for the 13% for Sarvis polls. Enjoy your new Governor.

  • flashgordon||

    I want to mention to people that there's a technical solution to the problem Nick describes here. I admire Nick but I think he's wrong here. I think Sarvis handed the election to the bad guy. I like Sarvis a great deal and he ran a great campaign. I begrudge him nothing he did. But there's a solution to this that makes us all happy and we get to find out if Nick was right that not all Nader votes would have gone to Gore (I think 95% of Nader voters would have Gore as their 2nd choice). The solution is called Instant Runoff. You vote for your first choice but at the same time (hence the Instant) you indicate who your vote goes to if your first choice is eliminated, and maybe down to a third choice. On election night the trick is to get to 50%. If someone doesn't get 50% the votes for the smallest vote getter are eliminated and their votes go to the second choice. This continues until someone gets 50%. It's brilliant, democratic, and the winner is most the choice of the people.

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